The Lockdown Chronicles 17: Frida

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Frida hadn't thought of it.
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Frida Kahlo (6 July 1907 – 13 July 1954) was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. [Wikipedia entry].

On September 17, 1925, Frida was in a serious traffic accident which resulted in multiple body fractures and internal lesions inflicted by an iron rod that had pierced her stomach and uterus. It took her three months in full-body cast to recover and though she eventually willed her way to walking again, she spent the rest of her life battling frequent relapses of extreme pain and enduring frequent hospital visits, including more than thirty operations. As a way of occupying herself while bedridden, Kahlo made her first strides in painting — then went on to become one of the most influential painters in modern art. [Popova 2013]

“I never thought of painting until 1926, when I was in bed on account of an automobile accident,” she wrote to gallery owner Julien Levy before her 1938 show. “I was bored as hell in bed . . . so I decided to do something. I stoled [sic] from my father some oil paints, and my mother ordered for me a special easel because I couldn’t sit down [the letter was written in English; she meant sit up], and I started to paint.”  [Karbo 2019]

“Viva la Vida” (1954) is known to be the last painting that Frida Kahlo did. Despite her deteriorated health, the title of this work is a tribute to life. [Google Arts & Culture]

Text based on the 1938 letter from Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) to Julien Levy (1906–1981), as cited in Karbo, Karen (2018) In Praise of Difficult Women, New York: Simon & Schuster.

Source image: Frida Kahlo, Mexico, 16 October 1932, photograph by Guillermo Kahlo (1871–1941), gelatin silver print, original via Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art; version used sourced via Wikimedia Commons; image is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer. This comic strip CC-BY-NC-SA.

References

Karbo, Karen (2018) In Praise of Difficult Women, New York: Simon & Schuster. Excerpt available via National Geographic, 9 April  2019, at https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/2019/01/excerpt-inconvenient-spectacle-frida-kahlo [Accessed 1 May 2020]

Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City, “El universo íntimo”, available at http://www.museofridakahlo.org.mx/EluniversointimoINGLES.html [Accessed 1 May 2020]

The diary of Frida Kahlo: an intimate self-portrait, available to borrow online from the Internet Archive, available at https://archive.org/details/diaryoffridakahl00kahl/ [Accessed 1 May 2020]

Kahlo, Guillermo (16 October 1932) Frida Kahlo. Photograph, gelatin silver print, available via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frida_Kahlo,_by_Guillermo_Kahlo.jpg . Original via Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art, available via http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/latin-american-art-n09152/lot.148.html [Accessed 1 May 2020]

The Lockdown Chronicles is a series of periodical comic strips made at night (in candlelight!) adapting and reusing openly-licensed or public domain items from online digital collections. Publication and tweetage are scheduled in advance. Historical sources are adapted and updated for the current pandemic; please refer to each strip’s references on each post for further context.  Catch up with the series at https://epriego.blog/tag/the-lockdown-chronicles/.